Silence

Delving into the body
I lose my voice. Months ago
I knew how to enter the profound place
where words are formed,
where they pulse,
where their autonomic rhythms continue to beat
after they leave my brain – just as the heart,
transplanted, does not depend on the human organism
but sustains itself
travelling from one chest to another.

But now the body has claimed me, epidermis
to arachnoid mater: the spider mother wraps me
in sticky fibres, an unending sheath; layer by layer
I feel my way, cell by cell
marking this new path.

Add collagen: call it ligament. Add water: blood.
Filter out the red cells and let lymph carry me
to the vena cava, waste dump of the world.

In the deep background, syllables thump. Behind
the body’s pounding I hear their
syncopated variations. I need
a leaky vessel, a histamine
to spread these walls and carry me
to where the words wait.

Written in massage school, when I realized I had become so immersed in the physical that I had forgotten how to write poetry. Even now, after a day of massaging, I can lose the ability to speak coherently because everything I know is in my hands.

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